Waco country music fans can hear classic songs from Texas country veterans Johnny Bush and Johnny Rodriguez with the two performers returning to Waco in separate shows this weekend.
Bush performs Friday night at the Melody Ranch, a return to the local dance hall after playing the Waco Hippodrome in November. The Texas Country Hall of Famer got his start in dance halls and honky tonks in the early 1960s, playing drums for Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys, before joining Willie Nelson’s The Record Men, then his own band the Bandoleros.
The San Antonio-based musician made a name for himself in the 1970s with songs like “Whiskey River,” “Green Snakes on the Ceiling,” “Undo the Right” and “There Stands the Glass” until a rare vocal condition sidelined his career. Treatment brought his voice back to performance levels in the 2000s and the 88-year-old musician has found a second wind as younger country fans and satellite radio listeners have rediscovered his vintage honky tonk sound.
Fellow Texas Country Music Hall of Fame member Johnny Rodriguez also revisits Waco with a Waco Hippodrome concert at 7 p.m. Saturday. Rodriguez, a Sabinal native, also found success in the 1970s with six No. 1 hits, including “You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me),” “Just Get Up and Close the Door” and “I Just Can’t Get Her Out of my Mind.” Later decades didn’t match that success, but Rodriguez, 67, has continued as a performer for more than 40 years.
Two other shows Thursday night will provide their own flavors of classic country. Dick and Emily Gimble will head a western swing band paying tribute to Texas fiddler Johnny Gimble and Texas Playboys band leader Bob Wills in a show at 8 p.m. Thursday at McLennan Community College’s Ball Performing Arts Center.
Also on Thursday is the Stars Over Texas Jamboree’s annual Legends of Country concert with local musicians Billy Roy Mitcham, Rick Butler, Teresa Byford and Megan Brucker singing hits by country stars of the 1960s and 1970s.